Operation Good Cheer flying high across Michigan making Christmas memories for children in foster care

OKEMOS, Mich. (WLUC) - Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., brings Christmas joy to children in foster care across Michigan. Operation Good Cheer is a program of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. This annual, volunteer based Christmas gift-giving program for children in foster care will once again be launching “Spirit of Good Cheer” flights and ground distribution on December 7, 2018 from Oakland County International Airport to deliver more than 20,313 gifts to 6,771 children across the state of Michigan.

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., will once again have the amazing opportunity to team up with hundreds of kind hearted donors and volunteers, creating incredible memories for children currently residing in out-of-home placement. Children throughout Michigan will know that people care about them and are thinking about them at Christmas. These children who participate in Operation Good Cheer are victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Through their foster care agencies, the children submitted “Wish lists” to Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., which were distributed to hundreds of individual and group donors who purchased and wrapped gifts specially chosen for each individual child, which will bring joy on Christmas.

Gifts will be collected from designated “pick-up” locations on December 7, 2018 for their journey to the Oakland County International Airport via donated ground transportation. The hangar, graciously provided by Pentastar Aviation, will have hundreds of enthusiastic volunteers on-hand at the Oakland County International Airport on December 7 and December 8 to assist with sorting and loading more than 20,313 gifts for distribution to infants, children, and youths across the state of Michigan.

On December 8, hundreds of dedicated volunteer pilots will fly their own aircraft, which will be filled to capacity with Christmas gifts to 29 airports throughout Michigan. Also, supplemental ground transport will take place for local destinations. Pilots and drivers will be greeted by staff and volunteers from 83 participating local social service agencies who will transfer the gifts for final distribution to eager and waiting children served by the agencies.

“This program would not be possible without the thousands of dedicated and committed volunteer and local partners helping others in their time of need and showing that they care. This is what the spirit of Christmas is about. People caring for and helping,” noted Sherry Brackenwagen, Administrative Director of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. “This „spirit‟ is what brings happiness and hope to thousands of Michigan's foster care children every holiday season.”

“We are extremely grateful” she added, “to have such dedicated, longtime supporters by our side. Supporters like Pentastar Aviation, the staff at Oakland County International Airport, and air traffic controllers from all airports 5who do an exceptional job of organizing the flights, along with the outstanding work of Mike Pipia in coordinating all of the ground transportation.”

As part of Operation Good Cheer, donors are enthusiastically purchasing, wrapping, and delivering Christmas gifts to assigned locations. Donors receive a personalized “Wish List” for each child to help guide their purchases. Every child and youth participating in the program receives at least three gifts, including items such as: toys, books, clothes, bikes, and electronics.

Various Related 2018 Operation Good Cheer Data and Statistics
Operation Good Cheer is a program of Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. State Office (CFSM) in Okemos. CFSM has sponsored and coordinated this volunteer-driven program since its inception in 1971.

This year, more than 275 separate donor groups and individuals are participating as gift sponsors. Donors include individuals, families, employer groups, public schools and universities, and community service organizations. Every child enrolled in the program completes a “Wish List” and includes six gift choices they would like for Christmas. Donors receive a “Wish List” and purchase and wrap three packages for every child they sponsor. Donors then deliver the gifts to designated drop-off locations.

Thirty-one trucking companies donate transportation services, including trucks and fuel. Numerous drivers donate their time to transport gifts to the airport from 31 “pick-up” locations, in addition to outbound transport from the airport to local destinations. A collaboration of pilots, also utilizing their aircraft and fuel, will make delivery flights throughout the day to 29 airport destinations, with many making several trips. Aircraft and flights are coordinated by air traffic controllers and a team of pilots and long-time supporters. Ground transportation is coordinated by Mike Pipia of Guardian Industries.

Local social service agencies taking part in Operation Good Cheer include:

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. and their member agencies: Arbor Circle (Holland); Child and Family Charities (Lansing); Child and Family Services of the Upper Peninsula (Marquette); Child and Family Services of Northeast Michigan (Alpena) and Family Service & Children‟s Aid (Jackson).

Other agencies taking part include: Adoption and Foster Care Specialists, Inc. (Lapeer); Adoption Option (Midland); Alcona/Alpena/Montmorency Department of Health and Human Services (Alpena); Arenac & Gladwin County Department of Health and Human Services (Standish); Bay County Department of Health and Human Services (Essexville): Benzie-Manistee County Department of Health and Human Services (Manistee); Berrien County Department of Health and Human Services (Benton Harbor); Bethany Christian Services (Fremont, East Lansing, Holland, Kalamazoo, Muskegon); Branch County Department of Health and Human Services (Coldwater); Cass County Department of Health and Human Services (Cassopolis), Catholic Charities of Lenawee, Jackson, Hillsdale County (Adrian); Christ Child House (Detroit); Clare County DHHS (Harrison); Clinton/Gratiot County Department of Health and Human Services (St. Johns); Crossroads for Youth (Oxford); Eagle Village (Hersey); Eaton County Department of Health and Human Services (Charlotte); Ennis Center for Children, Inc. (Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Port Huron); Family and Community Services (Howell, Sterling Heights); Federation of Youth Services (Detroit); Forever Families (Livonia); Fostering Solutions (Adrian); Gladwin County Department of Health and Human Services (Gladwin); Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Kalkaska Department of Health and Human Services (Traverse City); Gratiot County Department of Health and Human Services (Ithaca); Guiding Harbor (Belleville); Hands Across Water (Ann Arbor); Hillsdale County Department of Health and Human Services (Hillsdale); Holy Cross Children's Services (Detroit, Saginaw, Traverse City); Huron County Department of Health and Human Services (Bad Axe); I.M.P.A.C.T. (Port Huron); Ionia County Department of Health and Human Services (Ionia); Isabella County DHHS (Mt. Pleasant); Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services (Jackson); Kalamazoo County DHHS (Kalamazoo); Lake and Newaygo County Department of Health and Human Services (Baldwin); Lenawee County Department of Health and Human Services (Adrian); Livingston County Catholic Charities (Howell); Mason and Oceana County Department of Health and Human Services (Ludington); Mecosta and Osceola County Department of Health and Human Services (Big Rapids); Montcalm County Department of Health and Human Services (Stanton); Muskegon County Department of Health and Human Services (Muskegon Heights); New Light Child and Family Institute (Millington); Ogemaw County Department of Health and Human Services (West Branch); Roscommon County Department of Health and Human Services (Houghton Lake); Saginaw County Department of Health and Human Services (Saginaw); Samaritas ( Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Troy); Shiawassee County Department of Health and Human Services (Owosso); Spaulding for Children (Southfield); Spectrum Child & Family Services (Westland); Sunny Crest Youth Ranch (Sunfield); Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan (Marquette); The Children's Center of Wayne County (Detroit); Tuscola County Department of Health and Human Services (Caro); UP Kids (Houghton); Upper Peninsula Family Solutions (Negaunee); Van Buren County Department of Health and Human Services (Hartford); Vista Maria (Dearborn Heights); Wayne Center (Detroit); Wexford/Missaukee Department of Health and Human Services (Cadillac); Wolverine Human Services, North Region (Vassar); Wolverine Human Services, South Region (Taylor); and Wolverine Human Services, Wolverine Center (Detroit).

Airports and respective receiving areas include: Sawyer International-Boreal Aviation, Marquette; Traverse City-AV Flight; Alpena County Regional; Tulip City-Terminal; Gerald R. Ford International-Signature Flight; Muskegon County-Executive Air Transport; Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International-Duncan Aviation; Roben-Hood- Terminal; MBS International-AV Flight; Lenawee County-Wings of Lenawee; Jackson County-Reynolds Field- Terminal; St. Clair County International- Terminal; Southwest Michigan Regional Airport-Terminal; Willow Run- Active Aero; Capital Region Airport Authority-AV Flight; Gladwin Memorial Airport-Terminal; Owosso Community Airport-Terminal; Tuscola Area Airport-Terminal; Hillsdale Municipal Airport-Terminal; Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport-Terminal; Midland-Barstow Airport; Huron County Memorial Airport-Terminal; DuPont Lapeer Airport; Livingston County Spencer J. Hardy Airport, Mason County Airport-Terminal; Ionia Airport-Terminal; Coldwater Airport, Roscommon County Airport-Terminal, and West Branch Community Airport-Terminal.

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. is a private, statewide, nonsectarian, nonprofit organization which provides administrative services to seven member agencies and implements its own services and programs, including: Post-Adoption Services, Confidential Intermediary Services, Children's Entitlement Fund and Operation Good Cheer. Individuals interested in more information about Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc., its programs, or how to make a financial contribution, can visit www.cfsm.org or contact Sherry Brackenwagen at 517-349-6226.



 
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